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Sunday images from the 2017 World RX of Germany at the Estering
NEWS

WORLD RX: SOLBERG GOES FULL BEAST MODE IN GERMANY

Oct 012017

Petter Solberg put it all on the line at the 2017 World RX of Germany. Choosing to race while nursing two broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and a bruised lung; all sustained from a crash during the World RX of Latvia two weeks ago; the double world rallycross champion won two qualifying races, semi-final one, and only just missed out on a podium place. Unbelievable; even for Solberg.

The incredible performance at the wheel of his 600bhp VW Polo GTI Supercar comes just five days after Solberg was undergoing surgery to fasten a titanium plate onto his collarbone to stabilize the injury sustained in Latvia. Where many drivers would have simply opted to sit-out the weekend, Solberg didn’t take his eyes off the prize – with second and third place still up for grabs in the drivers championship – in the wake of team mate Johan Kristoffersson being crowned the 2017 FIA World Rallycross drivers’ champion.

Arguably Petter’s determination was rewarded, because even though outgoing World RX champion Matthias Ekström took the eventual win at #GermanyRX; Petter’s fourth place, and victories during qualifying, and the semi-finals were enough to retain his second place spot in the drivers’ championship.

While Johan Kristoffersson was chasing his 10th successive podium of the season; the newly crowned 2017 World RX champion was unfortunately forced to leave Germany empty handed. Kristoffersson struggled to set-up and execute the lightening starts that have characterized his performances this season. And after a clash at Estering’s treacherous first corner hairpin during the semi finals, the superstar Swede was relegated to seventh in the weekend’s standings.

Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block and Andreas Bakkerud suffered similarly to Kristoffersson in the ever-changing conditions. However the weekend wasn’t completely without results for the Ford Focus RS RX pilots.

 

Ken Block won his race for Q2, while Andreas battled his way to second, third and fifth in Q1, Q2 and Q4 respectively. While Ken was forced to then miss the semi–finals, having placed 14th after the qualifying races, Andreas pushed through to eighth overall. A tense battle in the first semi final followed, which saw the Norwegian cross the line in fifth; sadly just outside the cut for the weekend’s main final.

With one round to go – the season closes in on its ultimate finale at the inaugural World RX of South Africa, in Capetown, on the 10th- 12th November. After which Petter, Johan, Ken and Andreas make tracks for the 2017 Gymkhana GRiD Finals in Johannesburg on the 18th – 19th November.

 

Full results from the 2017 World RX of Germany are available, here.

“It was my decision to race. I was really low after the crash in Riga. I thought it might all be over. The pain was so bad, I knew straight away I had hurt myself and broken ribs. Honestly, I thought it was finished. After some time and talking to the medics and surgeons, I knew I could take the operation and then think about the race. My family and all the team around me, we stayed very quiet and thought a lot about what to do. I wanted to drive. I had to make a lot of preparation for this; we made some special armour to go under my overalls to keep the collarbone still. But all the time, I was a little bit scared, just waiting for the big bang and somebody to hit me from behind. I had a couple of nudges, but nothing big. The final was a shame, but I can’t think to that. I really wanted the win, the dream story, but actually what we have achieved, what I have done to come from the hospital to the track to race in the final is like a big, big win for me and for my family and the team. There were tears after Riga. I was so frustrated; to come back like this is incredible. If we made this like the film, the people wouldn’t watch it, they wouldn’t believe it.”

“It wasn’t my weekend this time, but the incredible run had to end some time. But, you know, I am still super-happy with my season, how can I not be? It’s been amazing and we still have one more race to come. This weekend belongs to Petter. He’s been a real hero to do what he’s done. I saw a little bit behind the scenes, what he put in and how hard he worked to just get to free practice – trust me, what he’s done is incredible. He really is the big hero! That’s all I need to say.”

“What a weekend. Every year when we come to this track, we know what we are coming up against. Of course that’s the carnage going into the first corner. It’s every driver’s worry at the Estering! Equally sometimes you get lucky here and sometimes you don’t. It went both ways for me this weekend – I got lucky in qualifying, but then maybe it was some cruel kind of pay-back in the semi final. That’s just the way it goes. When I end up sitting out of a final and I feel responsible for it, then I’m pretty annoyed. But this weekend I really gave my all. I had good pace, good reactions, but unfortunately we didn’t have the grip at the start. It’s always hard to do anything in the race, when you’re last off the start. That’s why I couldn’t control the race or do much in the semi finals. I’m very much looking forward to South Africa now – I’m going to try everything I can to win the race in Capetown, and then head to Gymkhana GRiD for more success in Johannesburg!”

“The track here in Germany is 100% about the start. If you don’t get the launch, heading uphill into the tight turn one, then you’re on the back-foot for the rest of the race. The conditions have been very changeable all weekend, with the heavy rain on Saturday and then things drying out on Sunday. I won my race in Q2, which brought me up to 11th overall after a bad start in Q1 caused me to not have a great time. On day two I finished 13th and 15th in Q3 and Q4, which put me in 14th overall in the intermediate standings.
this was two places away from making the cut for the semi-finals. This is the second event that I haven’t made the final which is obviously a Unfortunately
disappointment; but I’m looking ahead to the final round of the championship in South Africa now and then Gymkhana GRiD in Johannesburg the weekend after.”

 

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